Page 130 - ShowSight - April 2020
P. 130

                Okay, now let this sink in. An abused dog knows there will be more beatings or another kick in the ribs. He remembers going hungry—a lot—because someone was mad at him. But the dog is faithful. He doesn’t stay because he’s stupid, he stays because it is his duty. Who do you know that would do that? Many experts say “ani- mals can’t think ahead”, but of course they never trained a dog nor watched them avoid a previous mistake.
No other creature on the face of the earth would willingly suffer such neglect or abuse. According to the Smithsonian, dogs have assisted mankind for at least 14,000 years. Stop reading. Think about this. Dogs love us, they provide incalculable stress support, especially in the unnatural urban environment mankind now inhabits. The dog lives in that polluted mess because he loves you.
Okay then, let’s talk about people with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, and/ or Bipolar Disorder. You know about ser- vice dogs for the hearing impaired and guide dogs for the visually impaired, but how often do you hear about assistance dogs, i.e. a multi-talented dog that provides assistance to a mentally or emotionally disabled person?
More to the difficult (and expensive) is it for retired police, secret service, FBI and military veterans suffer- ing from PTSD to get an Assistance Dog? Those dogs are a lifeline for people who have put their life on the line...and what about ordinary people with emotional or mental problems who live in the shadows of society? You call them street people. Many of them share their meager meals with a scruffy, little dog.
Searching the net for Service Dogs I found National Service Dog Month (Sep- tember) designated by We applaud them, but I am “in” dogs and I didn’t know about it and neither did most of you.
I found a lot of websites offering trained assistance dogs, but nothing no-cost or low-cost for people suffering from mental or emotional distress who desperately need help! What’s wrong with this picture? Pro- tecting society from the ever-increasing vio- lence, school shootings, and random “flip outs” is part of what our tax dollars should pay for and prevention is cheaper than fix- ing a problem.
We need solutions, but I couldn’t find any government or private organization providing free or low-cost Assistance Dogs for the people who need them most. So how
can we dog lovers unite and work together to help people who are not mentally or emo- tionally able to help themselves?
I’m pretty good online. Google loves me. Lots of “fisher” sites offer help, but when you read far enough, they all wanted money— lots of it! I saw this and was hopeful, “The VA already helps many qualified veterans work with outside agencies to help obtain service dogs.” It didn’t mention the cost, of course.
It gets worse. The Washington Post reported: “For more than 15 years, VA has covered veterinary care for service dogs that assist veterans with physical disabilities. It has declined to do that for PTSD service dogs, however, citing a lack of empirical evidence for their therapeutic value.”
That same day I watched a news seg- ment on street people. It shamed me that this is America. It looked like a third-world country. Some of them had a dog...prob- ably their only true friend. How sad, but how meaningful! We know what dogs do for veterans and for us. If you are a training facility or willing to help dogs help people, contact me through this publication or email
ref 1 pets-and-substance-abuse-prevention/.

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